Set Milestones For Three-Year Plan To Resolve Contract Doctor Issues — MMA

It will take some convincing for the contract doctors to believe that a breakthrough is possible for them to obtain permanent posts.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) wishes to thank the Prime Minister for his stated commitment to resolving the issues of contract doctors in three years.

However, the government should set a timeline with milestones for the affected doctors. It will take some convincing for the contract doctors to believe that a breakthrough is possible for them to obtain permanent posts.

More resignations can also be expected in the meantime as some contract doctors may not be willing to wait another three years.

As for the 1,500 permanent positions that will be given this year, it is not any different from the 1,500 permanent positions that were promised by the previous health minister for each year. It needs to be at least doubled as around 3,000 medical graduates will join the system each year. 

Apart from the lack of permanent posts, there are many other issues that are causing frustration among public health care workers which the government should focus on resolving.

Some of the issues do not even require financial commitment to resolve, such as ensuring more reasonable working hours for a better work-life balance, transparency in the selection criteria for permanent posts, and ensuring proper career pathways. 

The work environment can also be improved by eliminating bullying. We have proposed that the department heads at public health care facilities be made responsible for any issues of bullying as one of the measures. These were among the steps proposed by MMA which can be implemented almost immediately. 

We understand that securing permanent positions will require a significant long-term financial commitment from the government, but for now, the government can go ahead with the more easily attainable measures. 

All the issues along with solutions have been brought up during our townhall session with the health minister, and we await the ministry’s response.

We hope the Prime Minister has been briefed on the issues and the many solutions that the MMA had proposed during the townhall with the Health Ministry. 

The MMA had in fact written to the Prime Minister’s office to meet with him and brief him first-hand on the issues, but was referred to the health minister instead.

We appreciate having met with the health minister on a number of occasions, but it is important that the Prime Minister, as the leader of the nation, be made aware of the magnitude of the issues in the public health care system and its far-reaching impact on the delivery of health care for the population.

The problems that we are facing are systemic and are the result of failed policies of the past.

Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai is the president of the Malaysian Medical Association.

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